That 26.2-mile distance just sticks in your head as some sort of finite distance. It’s the distance most people talk about. Inevitably, the talk eventually leads to how tough it is to run that distance. The constant reinforcement of this idea made breaking that milestone a strange one. As soon as I would fatigue slightly, I’d go Ahhhhh, it’s because I’m at marathon distance, while somehow totally ignoring the fact I had not drank enough water and/or forgotten to eat. That mental block of moving past the marathon distance was important to realize and break down.
Being able to comfortably run 30 miles smashed this thought process, although “comfortably” is an extremely generous word for my first ever 30-mile run. It hit me hard and I fatigued heavily around mile 27. However, three weeks later I had shaved 40 minutes off my first 30-mile run and it now seemed wholly manageable. As long as I hit the right levels of hydration and fueling, the distance no longer seemed to matter. In fact, I now feel more comfortable at 30 miles than I ever did at six miles.
My mental state is where the biggest difference has been made. Being blind and still training alone has allowed me to push my mental limits further than I ever could have imagined. During the past year, I have gone from running one to two miles solo, to 30. That, speaking for myself, is a remarkable leap. Being able to concentrate on the nuances needed to run — even when fatigued — has put me in great shape to attempt the 100-mile run in 11 days’ time. – from Simon Wheatcroft’s blog series on Wired.com.
The quote, in its entirety, is pretty BAMF. But what earns Simon his mention in my little chronicling of BAMFs is the part I put it in bold. Simon is blind. At one point – probably due to mileage! – Simon lost his guide runner. So he decided to teach himself to run solo. He started running on a 0.15mi stretch of road that he knew. That’s right. Less than one trip around a track. But that was his world. At least, the world he was comfortably able to run in. Using various audio cues, he’s been able to expand his running. There are some great links on the Wired article to Simon’s personal site and Twitter feed.
SW (in appropriately BAMF aviators), you are a BAMF.